Opening For Pension Plans

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The government is willing to talk with unions and employers about the controversial plan to reduce the pension accrual. State Secretary Frans Weekers of Finance said that Monday in the House. He and his colleague Jetta Klijnsma of Social Affairs want to have an interview on Tuesday.

Weekers hinted that there are other options than the highly controversial proposal which was developed in consultation with the social partners. About that plan, which leads to an annual pension accrual of 1.85 percent, neither unions and employers, nor the House are satisfied. The Council of State ruled negatively about the plan.

An important new point in the new consultation with the social partners, is that a reduction in pension contributions should be accompanied by lower pension accrual. This also provides financial space to adjust the pension plans. The social partners, who run the retirement funds, so far refused to adopt a reduction in premiums.

The government wanted to reduce the annual pension in 2015 from 2.25 percent to 1.75 percent. Because people stop later with working after all, they have more time to safe money for their retirement. This proposal encountered fierce opposition from the 'polder'. The government then put 250 million on the table to soften the measure. More than two weeks ago this led to an agreement with the social partners, in which the percentage of 1.75 was, in a complicated way, increased to 1.85 percent.

The plan, however, was not satisfying to anybody, because of the low impact and high implementation costs. The social partners want more money to make a better agreement. In the House, only the government parties VVD and PvdA seemed to be willing, though with much hesitation, to support the plan. That is not enough, because the coalition partners don’t have a majority in the Senate.